Gaika's Kop is a isolated dolerite outcrop in the Amatola mountain range in the Eastern Cape. With an altitude of 1960m, it is the highest peak in this range. It is situated above the well known mountain resort of Hogsback. It is named after a famous African chief who was head of the Xhosa nation in the late 1700s. The northern and eastern slopes are privately owned by local farmers, and are well managed and well conserved and used primarily for grazing livestock. The steep cooler and moister southern and western slope fall within the Department of Forestry Reserve and are managed by the the local Forest Company who keeps the peak clear of aliens and undertake periodic fire management, essential for the maintenance of the mountain grassland ecosystem. These slopes are dominated by Protea subvestita (pictured below) thickets and patches of mountain Bamboo (Thamnocalamus tesselatus). Having been well preserved, they are exceedingly rich in biodiversity with a wide range of interesting and rare mountain species, some of which are endemic. The steep cliffs near the summit are home to many cliff species like Cyrtanthus huttonii and other cliff dwelling plants.
The summit is in the form of a shallow basin about 3 hectares in extent with a stream draining to the north. The vegetation on the summit is dominated by Protea subvestita and Watsonia pillansii with many ericas, geophytes and beautiful orchids, notably populations of beautiful Disa crassicornis, Disa chrysostachya and Disa pulchra.
Gaika's Kop is favourite destination for hikers, botanists and other naturalists. Text furnished by Cameron McMaster. Photos were mostly taken January 17 2010 when a number of friends led by Cameron McMaster spent the morning exploring. The area had burned the year before. One group went to the summit and the other group explored the lower areas of the mountain. To see the photos click on the links to the pages or to a species listed in the table.
|Gaika's Kop species|
|Albuca sp.||Agapanthus praecox||Bulbine abyssinica||Corycium dracomontanum|
|Cyrtanthus huttonii||Dierama pulcherrimum||Disa chrysostachya||Disa sagittalis|
|Eulophia aculeata||Eucomis autumnalis||Hesperantha pulchra||Hypoxis argentea|
|Ixia orientalis||Kniphofia northiae||Kniphofia triangularis||Kniphofia uvaria|
|Moraea elliotii||Moraea muddii||Ornithogalum juncifolium||Oxalis smithiana|
|Oxalis spp.||Satyrium bracteatum||Satyrium longicauda||Schizocarphus nervosus|
|Schizochilus zeyheri||Tritonia disticha||Watsonia hybrids||Watsonia knysnana|